Interval Timing, Dopamine, and Motivation

In: Timing & Time Perception
Author: Fuat Balcı1
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  • 1 Department of Psychology, Koç University, Rumelifeneri yolu, Sarıyer, Istanbul, Turkey
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The dopamine clock hypothesis suggests that the dopamine level determines the speed of the hypothetical internal clock. However, dopaminergic function has also been implicated for motivation and thus the effect of dopaminergic manipulations on timing behavior might also be independently mediated by altered motivational state. Studies that investigated the effect of motivational manipulations on peak responding are reviewed in this paper. The majority of these studies show that a higher reward magnitude leads to a leftward shift, whereas reward devaluation leads to a rightward shift in the initiation of timed anticipatory behavior, typically in the absence of an effect on the timing of response termination. Similar behavioral effects are also present in a number of studies that investigated the effect of dopamine agonists and dopamine-related genetic factors on peak responding. These results can be readily accounted for by independent modulation of decision-thresholds for the initiation and termination of timed responding.

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